Two men get 40 years for role in ambush killing of armored truck guard

Published 5:02 pm Sunday, October 3, 2021

Two men who admitted to the fatal shooting of an armored truck guard at a New Orleans bank in 2013 have each been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk sentenced Chukwudi Ofomata, 34, and Lilbear George, 31, on Wednesday. Both men pleaded guilty in May to the killing of Hector Trochez, 45, The Times Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Prosecutors alleged that the guard was killed in a shootout with Ofomata, George and Curtis Johnson Jr. outside a branch of Chase Bank. A jury deadlocked in Johnson’s trial in July, and his retrial is scheduled for November.

The three men ambushed Trochez as he helped deliver cash to the branch, according to prosecutors. They said Trochez fired a shot, but the attackers shot him in the forehead and left with $265,000.

Ofomata “took responsibility for what happened and what he did,” said his attorney, Frank DeSalvo, on Friday. “He truly has felt awful about it and didn’t think it would happen that way, but in the spur of the moment stuff happened and he made bad decisions.”

But George’s attorney, Bruce Whittaker, said prosecutors breached a plea agreement that called for a sentence recommendation of 30 to 40 years. Whittaker said he tried to withdraw George’s guilty plea, but Africk denied the request.

“We believe the sentence is unwarranted and excessive,” Whittaker said. “Although Mr. George is deeply sorry for the Trochez family and regrets greatly his role in what occurred, in the end I do not believe he was treated fairly by the government.”

Ofomata still faces state murder charges for his alleged role in the 2008 shooting deaths of a couple whose burned bodies were found in a torched SUV in eastern New Orleans.